Should you work with a Real Estate Agent?

 

In the digital age, many home buyers feel they can skip partnering with a professional Realtor or real estate agent because of their access to listing websites and other online tools.  While listing sites like Zillow and Trulia can help a home buyer find out what’s for sale in their area and start shopping, there are still many advantages to continuing your search with an established Realtor or real estate agent.

 

Neighborhood Experience

Working with a real estate agent is especially important when you are moving out of state or even to a different part of town.  They are experts in the local school district, crime maps, transportation accessibility, and other information that may influence your decision.  They will also be familiar with local listings and know the recent history of the home.  You may love a home you found online, but your real estate agent may know other information to change your mind.

Early Access to Listings

Online listing sites, like Realtor.com, have revolutionized the way home buyers start shopping for a new home.  These websites are compiled from many different datasets and not always up to date and reliable.  Sometimes, there are even scams buried in online listings.  Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an advanced private database developed to help the real estate community find out when a home is listed, often before the listing goes public.  Your real estate agent may be able to find your perfect home before there is even an “open house.”

Price Negotiator

Having someone on your side for price negotiations, especially if you are a first-time home buyer, is a big bonus of working with a real estate agent.  Even if you are preapproved for a certain mortgage amount, you don’t want to take out that entire loan if you don’t have to.  When it comes to making your offer, real estate agents are skilled negotiators It’s part of their job and they don’t have the emotional investment in the home’s sale.  Remember, agents do not get paid until or unless there is a closing.  They are representing your best interests.

Professional Network

First-time home buyers may not know this but buying a home will involve a community of housing professionals.  In addition to a real estate agent and a mortgage loan officer, a home buyer may also work with a real estate attorney, home inspector, appraiser, contractor, housing counselor, and insurance agent depending on the type of transaction.  Working with an established real estate agent is one way to get referrals and build a winning real estate team.

Paperwork Assistance

Unfortunately, there’s no click-to-buy option for buying a home, yet.  Buying a home will require extensive paperwork.  Working with the right mortgage loan officer and real estate agent will alleviate some of that paperwork burden.   One small mistake in your paperwork could end up costing you thousands long-term.

Post-Closing Questions

Your home purchase may end at the closing table, but homeownership is a lifetime journey.  Between insurance, taxes, and other complications, questions may come up long after you have moved into your home. A good real estate agent will be there for you to answer any questions you have along the way.  Plus, when you eventually sell your home, you will have someone to help with the listing or provide a referral.

 

When buying or selling a home, there is no substitute to working with a professional real estate agent or Realtor.  If you need an introduction to a local real estate professional, start by asking a mortgage loan officer.